Friday, December 04, 2009

(Lost in translation) Bechara dil kya kare from Movie: Khushboo with Lyrics: Gulzar

Let us look at the translation first, notes will follow later. The song can be found on youtube as well as other sources, has music by R. D. Burman and is sung by Asha Bhonsle.

What can the heart do, sears in saawan, sears in bhado,                          
The path isn't two seconds long, stops an instant, walks an instant,

The Yogi moves from a village to village, cures the sick,
Only my heart's fever he doesn't know, doesn't lay his hand....

For you, there are many roads, you can go whereever you wish,
For me, only your path-ways, if you take me along..

The song includes many references that are lost in translation. "do pal ki raah" has many connotations for a Hindu as many ancient and modern verses call life as a two moment, two pal, two second long pursuit. Harivansh Rai Bachchan always said: "mitti ka tan, masti ka man, pal bhar jeevan, mera parichay" (Body of earth, Mind of mirth, Life in a moment, my biography).If you have read Tagore's songs in translation, you will recognize that some of the translations are similar to the one possible for this song.

A heart searing in monsoon means the burning, the yearning is immense. The reference to Sawaan is too common in Hindi and Indian literature and the real joy of monsoon can be appreciated by only the farmers who see the paddy flourish after the rains. Sawaan was also the month of separation between husband and wives, the month of prayers to Lord Shiva, and just saying these words  (Saawan and Bhado) in Hindi bring so many associations to the mind.

The couplet that refers to Jogi, or Yogi is another interesting reference to times when sages or sadhus would go from village to village distributing medicine and blessings. There are many Bhakti, sufi or devotional songs that use the word Jogi in the sense of a wanderer, or lover, or God, and here too, Gulzar employs the word in a way where connotations can be diverse. Tagore always used this kind of doublespeak, as it most of the poets in rest of India.

In the last couplet, a feminist interpretation is possible: A woman says that man has access to any path he chooses, whereas female follows, and that too if the man allows. Another interpretation is perhaps more accurate though, if we think of jogi or Yogi or saint, as the person addressed, then, this couplet continues the devotional strain, where the teacher, the jogi knows every path to God, love, destination, ecstasy. The song is in female voice, but the song itself is as applicable to males as it is to females, to anyone who is in dilemma, and wants to find someone who can not only heal, not only knows the answers, but can also take you along. If love is a spiritual journey, as many Hindu and sufi believers have said time and again, then this is another spiritual, love song, where beloved is also a divinity.

bechaaraa dil kyaa kare, saavan jale bhaadon jale
do pal ki raah nahin, ik pal ruke ik pal chale
gaaNv gaaNv men, ghuume re jogi, rogi change kare,
mere hi man kaa, taDap naa jaane, haath naa dhare
tere vaaste, laakhon raaste, tuu jahaaN bhi chale,
mere liye hai, teri hi raahen, tuu jo saath le 

बेचारा दिल क्या करे, सावन जले भादों जले
दो पल की राह नहीं, इक पल रुके इक पल चले
गाँव गाँव में, घूमे रे जोगी, रोगी चंगे करे,
मेरे ही मन की, तड़प ना जाने, हाथ ना धरे
तेरे वास्ते, लाखों रास्ते, तू जहां भी चले,
मेरे लिए है, तेरी ही राहें, तू जो साथ ले

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